The Yorkshire Terrier
A Yorkshire Terrier puppy
The origin of the Yorkshire terrier (aka Yorkie) is not certain, it was probably developed about a century ago as a "rat catcher". A traditional historical occupation of the Yorkshire men was coal mining, and the coalmines were infested with rats.
Yorkshire is one of the most rural of the English counties and a hunting dog for foxes and badgers would have been prized. Many of England 's woollen mills were situated in the adjacent counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire , because the wool needed the damp wet conditions. Men from Scotland left their homeland during the industrial revolution and migrated to Yorkshire for work and they brought many breeds of Scottish terrier with them, including the paisley terrier. The Manchester black and tan, the longhaired Leeds terriers were interbred with these Scottish bloodlines.
Many breeders feel that its distinctive coat is a result of being interbred with the Maltese terrier. Originally it was a larger animal but selective breeding made it compact and small and now the average size is about seven pounds. Yorkshire terriers of the type that we know today first appeared about 1870 and they immediately became fashionable as a ladies lapdog.
The Yorkshire terrier is a Toy Terrier with a beautiful, long silky blue tan coat, which parts in the center of the back and cascades down the side . They are all born black and their colour alters as they mature.
Please note the teacup Yorkshire terrier is not a separate breed, but a very small Yorkie, too small to breed. No reputable Yorkshire terrier breeder would ever breed from a dog less than 4 pounds.
Despite its small size the Yorkshire Terrier is a sturdy, intelligent and aware dog, with an engaging personality, and an ability to make you laugh. Yorkie terriers are loyal, compact, easily trainable dogs that appreciate human contact, but they are not lapdogs. An adult Yorkshire Terrier should weigh approximately 7 pounds, but they are in no way constrained by their size. Their erect head exudes confidence and self-importance. They are fearless and make excellent watch dogs.
As the Yorkie terrier is one of the world's smallest dogs they do have special needs, and although a dog with a big spirit they are generally even tempered. As they are excellent guard dogs they can have a tendency to bark which is annoying for the neighbours. Although they are good with children they should not be placed with very young children, because they are both so small.
Their air of supreme confidence, their jaunty devil may care walk, as well as their ability to look as though the world belongs to them, is part of the essence of their personality. Once this is bred out of them they will not be worth having. Yorkshire Terriers are agile, graceful and an alert with a high level of intelligence.
However they can have birth defects and they are notoriously difficult to housetrain. Whilst these are negative aspects that do not mean that a Yorkshire terrier is not for you. Find an adult you like and employ the "what you see is what you get" policy (WYSIWYG).
On the other hand a Yorkshire terrier puppy offers you the potential to train your dog and socialize with it in your way. Like any other breed of dog they are all individuals with their own characters, some are natural clowns and some are yappy and difficult. A healthy dog has an air of sartorial elegance, they are sure footed and move fast but with incredible grace and most of them have a natural inquisitiveness.
The negative side of this is that because the Yorkshire Terriers run everywhere, and get everywhere you have to be very vigilant and always know where your dog is. The bones of a Yorkshire terrier are very fragile and they break easily, either when you accidentally sit on them. They also can run under your feet, and they are incredibly easy to step on.
Because they tend not to be frightened of bigger dogs they are very much at risk, even a boxer can break a Yorkshire terrier neck in its jaws. Whilst a Yorkshire terrier can be territorial, they are tolerant of most other breeds.
Yorkshire Terriers have long, distinctive, and luxurious silky coats and as a result are often clipped to be shorter haired dogs, but they do not molt. Even as a shorter haired clipped dog they require a shower and a good brush once a week or they look matted, unkempt and bedraggled.
To keep them as a longhaired dog their coats need hours of brushing. The coat of a Yorkshire terrier is often oiled if the dog is to be exhibited at a dog show; it acts as a conditioner and also protects the hairs of the coat from getting broken.
They can have teeth problems and special attention needs to be paid to their tiny mouths.
Yorkshire terriers love to run and they appreciate play, but their formal exercise needs are minimal.
Like all terriers they are aware and intelligent but sometimes they are difficult to train, and this often because they are still prey driven and prefer to do their own thing.
The hair of a Yorkshire terrier is not unlike human hair and it continuously grows, care must be taken that it does not block the anus, and prevent the faeces being expelled normally.
As the Yorkshire terrier sheds its milk teeth it is possible for the ear to flop and be raised again, care needs to be taken that the ears are not weighed down with the weight of the coat, it should be cut.
Special attention should be paid to the ears and teeth of this breed they are prone to eye infections because the coats get in their ears, and their teeth can build up tartar.
Breeding standards are vital please do not contribute to the inhuman traffic in Yorkshire teacup terriers, they are not a breed and there is nothing cute about them.
Ideal weight: 7 pounds / 3,2 kg
Average height: 6-7 inches / 15-18 cm
Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years is average, but they have been known to reach 18.